By Raymund Antonio
Vice President Leni Robredo has resounded calls to stop the killings in the war on drugs, saying that the government must learn from other countries which used violence but failed to solve the drug problem.
Speaking at ABS-CBN’s “Bottomline,” Robredo said the failed approach of Thailand and other countries in South America must serve as a lesson to the current administration in the implementation of its anti-drug campaign.
Robredo cited that Thailand launched a drug war in the past that killed 3,000 people, but after the conduct of an official investigation, it showed that half of the victims had no links to drugs.
“Madami ng namatay pero dami pa rin droga (Many people died, but the illegal drugs are still rampant). This is proof that this is not working,” she said in the televised interview Saturday night.
When its fight using force against illegal drugs did not work, she said Thailand since then has treated drug addiction as a health problem.
“Ibang lens na ‘yong ginamit nila (They used other lens), health. Drug problem is actually a health problem and they look at drug addicts as patients,” the Vice President said.
After two years into his term, President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs remains unrelenting.
Human rights watchdogs claimed that at least 20,000 have been killed in his campaign against illegal drugs.
The Vice President has been a vocal critic of his anti-drug war and alleged extrajudicial killings of drug suspects.
If she will have it her way, Robredo said she would implement the anti-drug campaign without resorting to violence.
“Ang dapat sana aralin natin sino ba mga bansa ‘yong may best practices. Sino mga bansa sa kampanya nila naging successful. Hindi ko sinasabi naging successful sila, magiging successful din tayo but we can learn lessons from them (We should study which countries have the best practices, who among them became successful in their campaign. I’m not saying we will also be successful since they were successful, but we can learn lessons from them.) ,” she said.
Asked about Duterte’s foreign policies, Robredo told talk show host Boy Abunda that she has no problem maintaining close relations with China as long as it’s not at the expense of the country’s ties with other allies.
“I believe in what he says that we have to make better friends with our neighbors but it may be not at the expense of our traditional friends,” the Vice President said.
“We are okay with our friendship with China, but the encroachment in our territory, threats to our sovereignty, we should not allow these to happen even we are friends,” she added.